Top-Seeded Trojans Set to Defend MPSF Crown|
Follow, Like, and Insta with @USCTrojansLax
April 26, 2017
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 7-ranked USC lacrosse team (14-3) captured the 2017 MPSF regular-season title and will host the conference tournament at McAlister Field this week. As the top seed in the tourney, the Trojans have a first-round bye and will meet either fourth-seeded Oregon (9-7) or fifth-seeded San Diego State (9-7) in the semifinals at noon PT on Friday (April 28). The Women of Troy defeated both potential opening opponents by double digits in road games earlier this season.
The Trojans are led by two-time All-American and two-time MPSF Player of the Year Michaela Michael (63g, 17a, 110dc). She guides a potent attack with fellow seniors Kylie Drexel (33g, 19a), Cynthia Del Core (28g, 22a), and Gabby McMahon (27g, 6a). Junior goalie Gussie Johns has a 7.33 goals-against average leads the MPSF in ground balls (4.06 gbpg). MPSF Rookie of the Year Kerrigan Miller (30g, 12a) is a threat at any position and on defense, senior Nina Kelty (22gb, 13ct) and junior Lydia Sutton (28gb, 21ct) anchor the Trojans' back line.
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN: The Trojans clinched a spot in their fifth consecutive MPSF tournament with their fifth win of the season (15-3 over San Diego State). In 2016, USC won both the MPSF regular-season and tournament titles. Previously, the Trojans advanced to their first MPSF final in 2015 and were semifinalists (2013) and quarterfinalists (2014) in the two previous seasons. USC tied a league record with 18 straight MPSF regular-season wins dating back to the end of the 2015 season. The Trojans were undefeated in MPSF games in 2016 (9-0) and 2017 (8-0).
IT WOULD BE AN HONOR: Senior attacker Michaela Michael was named the 2017 MPSF Player of the Year and became just the fourth player to earn multiple POY awards (2015). It also marked the third consecutive season in which the league's Player of the Year has been a Trojan (Courtney Tarleton, 2016). Freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller was chosen for Rookie of the Year honors and is the second USC player to receive that distinction (Amanda Johansen, 2013). Miller is also the first freshman to make the MPSF All-Conference first team since 2014. In all, seven Trojans received All-MPSF honors. Junior goalie Gussie Johns, junior defender Lydia Sutton, and senior attacker Gabby McMahon were each on the first team while senior defender Nina Kelty and senior attacker Kylie Drexel were chosen for second-team honors. The Women of Troy have had 29 All-MPSF selections in five seasons (18 first team, 11 second team).
TRACK THE TROJANS: Fans of USC lacrosse can follow the Trojans on Twitter and Instagram. For a behind-the-scenes look at the program, scores, and news updates, follow @USCTrojansLax. The Women of Troy appeared on four Pac-12 Networks live broadcasts this spring and were shown on Ivy League Digital Network (at Dartmouth, March 17), AmericaEast.tv (at Stony Brook, March 24), Florida's YouTube channel (Feb. 24), and HatterVision (at Stetson, Feb. 26).
SCOUTING REPORT - THE MPSF FIELD: The Trojans have not lost to an MPSF opponent in 20 tries, including league tournament and NCAA tournament games. USC is the two-time defending regular-season league champion and the defending MPSF tournament champion. Against potential semifinal opponents, USC is 4-2 all-time against fourth-seeded Oregon and has won the last three meetings. The Women of Troy are 5-0 against San Diego State. USC faced both potential opening opponents on the road this season and registered a 17-7 win over the Ducks (April 7) and a 15-3 win against the Aztecs (April 8). Against second seeded Colorado, the Trojans have won three straight since falling to the Buffaloes in their first-ever meeting in 2014. USC is 5-3 all-time against third-seeded Stanford and has won four straight. The Trojans defeated the Cardinal in the 2016 MPSF title game. Finally, USC has a 4-1 all-time mark against California. The Golden Bears are the only team in the MPSF tournament to have played at McAlister Field earlier this season.
ONES TO WATCH: Senior attacker Michaela Michael, junior goalie Gussie Johns, and junior defender Lydia Sutton were each named to the official Tewaaraton Award Watch List. Michael makes her second appearance on the watch list after finishing as one of the 25 top candidates for the award in 2016. Johns and Sutton are first-timers on the list, and join former All-American Amanda Johansen who was also on the 2016 Watch List. Courtney Tarleton was not a Watch List name, but was one of the 25 candidates alongside Michael in 2016.
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans completed an undefeated MPSF schedule with a pair of pivotal road wins at Stanford (15-12) and at UC Davis (18-9). USC's win over the Cardinal secured the top seed in the league tournament and its win over the Aggies pushed the team's winning streak to eight games; the second longest in program history. Senior attacker Kylie Drexel compiled 14 points in the two wins and had career-highs of five goals and four assists in the win over Stanford. Senior attacker Michaela Michael scored five goals against the Cardinal and then scored four more to go with 10 draw controls against the Aggies.
HOME, SWEET HOME: USC has won 23 straight home games including those played at McAlister Field and at the LA Memorial Coliseum. The Trojans have won 20 straight at McAlister Field and own a 28-8 all-time record on home grass. USC has not lost at McAlister Field since April 18, 2014 (10-8 to Oregon).